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Judaism

Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Principle: Justice

“There is a time to act” says Ecclesiastes. For Jews the deed is more important than the thought. Who we are is equal to what we do. Making amends heals us and the world; we begin to actively restore shalom, unity and wholeness to the world.

Text or Verse

Adonai is my shepherd, I lack nothing,
God gives me my ease in rich pastures,
Leads me to take my drink by tranquil waters.
Redeems my life.
Leads me in the ways of the right.
Out of sheer graciousness though I go through the gloomiest valleys
I fear no misfortune for You are ever with me,
Your sustaining staff is what relieves me of my anxiety:
My enemies do not bother me because You are watching over me.
You have made my heart fat with richness my cup oozes.
As long as I live my tracks will be accompanied by graciousness.
I will dwell in Adonai’s house as long as I live.
Psalm 23.

Practice

Go to someone you have offended and say “I’m sorry.”
Be ready to listen how hurt they are and how angry they were.
Ask what you can do to make things right.
Seek forgiveness for those whom you have harmed.
You are not responsible for the results.
Amends can also be made indirectly if direct amends are not possible or appropriate.
You can repay your debt anonymously or give tzedakah (a charitable donation) as amends.

The Code of Jewish Law states that all the atonement possible is ineffective if an individual has harmed another, unless forgiveness from the victim has been sought. If the wrong action resulted in financial loss, then adequate restitution is required. If the offended party refuses to grant forgiveness, he is to be approached three times. If he remains obstinant in refusing forgiveness, and the offender sincerely regrets his behavior, Divine forgiveness is assured. If the victim dies, the Code requires that the offender take a minyan (a quorum of ten) to the burial site and publicly ask for forgiveness.
Shulchan Aruch

Resources

Chabad Organization
The Twelve Steps of A.A. and their Parallels in Jewish and Chassidic Thought
(Go to the Links menu to connect with this site.)

Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D. Spirituality, Prayer, The Twelve Steps and Judaism.
(Go to the Links menu to connect with this site.)

Starting Over: Using Torah and the Twelve Steps of Recovery to Find Happiness
(Go to the Links menu to connect with this site.)

Take 12 Steps
Jewish Journal
(Go to the Links menu to connect with this site.)

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